Dillan Douglas is preparing for his amateur lightweight title fight with Hugh Gleeson at Clan Wars 27 on Saturday, March 25.
The Next Generation IMMA product managed to find time to fit in a quick fire Q&A with us ahead of the big night.
Thanks for taking the time to speak to The Sprawl, Dillan. Could you tell our readers about the type of fighter you are?
If I had to honestly say what type, I’m all rounded but I have a large focus on my BJJ and have had since I started. It has always been my fall back and I feel it always will. Other than that, I couldn’t tell you much else about me. I’ve been working my boxing for a long time also, with help not only from my teammates and coaches but also from one of my biggest inspirations, and I’d like to say friend, Eamon Loughren – the former welterweight boxing world champion. So I’m ready for anything now that’s going to come I’d like to say.
You train at Next Generation IMMA, Ballymena in Northern Ireland. How important has training in this gym and the learning experiences from there played in your amateur and professional career?
It’s played a great role! We have all different styles in that gym, all different body types and everyone has a different grind and ‘can do’ attitude and point of view. So I believe it has helped me immensely in the nearly 6 years I’ve been there now, from starting as a shorter, stockier me at nearly 100kg at 15, to a now good shaped and well rounded 70kg fighter. But, I know without the push I get from there I couldn’t achieve what I have now.
Without that gym and everyone in it I can honestly say I wouldn’t be alive because I went through a very dark mental side of things when I was 17 going on to 20 and I may not be fully out of there, but the gym and all of my team, and of course family, are the reason I’m still here fighting.
Your last title fight was at First Fighting Championship: Resurgence in 2014, it ended in a draw against Harry McDonald. You will now be competing at Clan Wars 27 for the lightweight amateur title, how much have you grown over the past three years as a fighter?
That’s a hard enough question to answer but I believe as a fighter I’ve grown exponentially in what would still be a very short period of time, especially from that fight. I learned not long after that welterweight wasn’t for me, I started to move on down the weight ’til I’m where I am now, and because it was such a grinding fight I realised I need to start finishing because there’s only so long I could grind out wins.
Has it been too long of a wait for another title shot?
Without a doubt! I deserve this without a doubt! I’ve fought big names that are pro now, or are on their way to pro, so I need to start making a name now by getting these titles I rightly deserve. I have turned down one or two title fights in the last few years due to not feeling mentally ready or not having enough time to get a good hard few months of training in, but this is a deserved title without a doubt.
You already have a win over the Kokoro Mixed Martial Arts team, a split decision win over Jay ar Campos at Clan Wars 26. How confident are you that you can get another victory over the Koko team at Clan Wars 27 against Hugh Gleeson (4-1-1)?
Fully confident in myself. I’ve far more experience and I’ve been about the game longer and fought harder fights. I will be coming out with that belt because it’s mine and I’ve put in the hard work and had to hold off things for this. It’s mine and after I take it, it’s staying put ’til I’m ready to give it up.
How much do you know about your opponent Hugh Gleeson?
I knows he is tall and explosive, but that’s nothing new to me training with the likes of Rhys McKee, Piaras McGarry, Glenn Irvine etc. and it doesn’t bother me at all. He is a raw fighter with great potential, I’m not going to discredit him but with my experience I’ll be coming out to win.
It is almost two weeks away from Clan Wars 27. How has this training camp been and was there any specific goals you have been working on?
No real goals. Just getting the cardio blasted up and being ready to do what I need.
Who will be in your corner for the fight?
I believe it will be Rhys McKee and our head coach Rodney Moore, who are always my go to for corner men, you couldn’t ask for a better pair of guys to be there for you.
Lastly, what does 2017 have in store for Dillan Douglas?
It’s the start of the year for me but after I take this belt home I’m going to focus on myself and get more fights, obviously, and also possibly moving down to featherweight at least once either this year or next to see because I’m still a small lightweight. I would like to see how I can hold up at featherweight and it’s always a learning experience. So if it isn’t my thing I’ll move back up and possibly put on some lean muscle to stay a strong lightweight, other than that, no idea what 2017 has for me.
Shoutouts to IMMA Next Gen, Eamon Loughren, my family and my sponsors Patsy’s Barber Shop Ballymena, Bronze Tone and Tanning Ballymena, HSS Hire, Conor Swann PT, Okeo Apparel and Adams Ceilings Company.